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Meaning and Symbolism Found in Korean Temples print

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1. Paradise Bridge to One Pillar Gate 2. One Pillar Gate to Gate of Non-Duality 3. The Dharma Hall and Buddha
4. Buddhas, Bodhisattvas & Dharma Halls 5. Buddhist Paintings 6. Stone Stupas and Lamps

6. Stone Stupas and Lamps

The Stupa or Reliquary (Tap)

Often we see one or two stupas (reliquary) in the main courtyard in front of the main Dharma hall. These stone stupas contain Buddha relics, scriptures, or other holy and precious objects. They are representations of the body of the Buddha. Thus, they are as sacred as the Buddha himself. When Buddhists see a stupa, they offer bows and prostrations. They also circumambulate the stupa while making prayers and aspirations. It is said that any wholesome wish made in the presence of a stupa will come true.
There are various types of stupas according to different countries. In China they have brick stupas, in Japan they build wooden stupas, and in Korea there are stone stupas.
A common site in Asia is small stupas made from a piling of rocks. Each rock represents a virtuous aspiration made by a passerby who has added a rock.

The Stone Lamp (Seokdeung)

Common to Korean temples are stone lamps. These are stone structures made to hold candles to light the temple at night. In present days, the stone lamps use electric lighting. Light is a symbol of the wisdom that dispels the darkness of ignorance.

Stupas for Great Masters (Budo)

A budo is a stupa in honor of a great master that has passed away. Often, it will house sarira (pearl-like relics found in the ashes of a great master). These stupas are considered as holy as the great master themselves. As such, great reverence is paid to these stupas.

Courtesy of: Korea Buddhism (종단협의회)

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